Conducting Arbitrations & Mediations Remotely During the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond, 0520 RIBJ, RIBJ, 68 RI Bar J., Special COVID-19 Issue, Pg. 15

AuthorMelody Alger, Esq. Alger Law LLC
PositionVol. 68 Special COVID-19 Issue Pg. 15

Conducting Arbitrations and Mediations Remotely During the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

Vol. 68 Special COVID-19 Issue Pg. 15

Rhode Island Bar Journal

May, 2020

Melody Alger, Esq. Alger Law LLC

On March 9, 2020, Governor Gina Raimondo issued a Declaration of Disaster relating to the COVID-19 crisis, the first of more than two Executive Orders establishing restrictions and guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of disease. Executive Order 20-08, issued on March 22, 2020, required all business service providers, including legal services, to work from home and permitting only critical employees to work on the business premises.

As the litigation community struggles to conduct its business with court calendars suspended and lawyers and staff operating remotely, remote platforms that allow virtual meetings provide an excellent resource to accommodate our work. In Rhode Island especially, with low-cost, non-binding arbitrations available in many cases prior to suit1 or while the suit is pending,2]virtual meeting technology is especially useful in arbitrations and mediations.

Virtual Meeting Platforms

There are numerous video conferencing platforms, many of which are available for no cost to both the meeting organizer and participants– Skype, Google Meet, WebEx and Zoom, to name a few. In my arbitration practice, I have used at least three of these products, depending upon the specific needs of lawyers using my services, and have found all to have similar basic features–e.g., video conferencing, meeting management, and recording options–and are easy to use. In my view, Zoom’s intuitive interface and integration with third-party software is superior, which is why Zoom is my default platform to conduct arbitrations and mediations and is the primary model in this article. Those unfamiliar with the platform can view a demo here (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=VnyitUU4DUY).

How it Works

Zoom requires little to no training as it generally only requires a one-touch link to join or start a meeting from any number of devices, so long as they have a camera and speakers and, of course, secure internet access. Tech requirements can be found here (https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=FnFSBjFvK2o). As in all facets of a remote practice, a strong WiFi signal and adequate broadband speed are crucial. The video conference will be much more effective with strong, stable video and sound quality.

On most devices, you can join computer/device...

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